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Australians to represent disability community at the United Nations

The Albanese Labor Government is committed to promoting the rights of people with disability and will support Australians with disability to attend the 17th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP17) in June this year.

Nine delegates will be funded to attend, along with Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill Shorten.

Minister Shorten’s attendance follows the attendance of Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth at last year’s Conference.

The Conference, to take place from 11 to 13 June in New York, brings together UN Member States, disability organisations, human rights defenders, UN entities and development partners to discuss implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and share best-practice.

It is the most significant and diverse disability meeting in the world.

Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth said the Government is committed to working alongside people with disability to advance human rights in Australia and overseas.

“The nine delegates are representative of Australia’s diverse disability community and they will each have the opportunity to share their perspectives and experiences on the world stage,” said Minister Rishworth.

“Sending a broad delegation of people with disability to COSP17 demonstrates Australia’s commitment to disability inclusion and rights.

“We want to be world leaders in improving the lives of the more than one in six Australians with disability.

“This delegation brings to life our commitments in Australia’s Disability Strategy to ensure people with disability can fulfil their potential as equal members of society.”

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Bill Shorten, said the delegation’s advocacy work aligns with the Government’s unwavering commitment to meeting the obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

“Upholding disability rights is a government priority, and we will continue to engage with stakeholders at the national and international levels to ensure every person with disability is treated with dignity and respect,” said Minister Shorten.

“COSP17 is an opportunity for Australia to reflect on the progress we have made so far to boost disability rights, while also reminding us of the work we all must do to create fully inclusive communities across the country.

“I’m pleased to be representing Australia at this conference. It will be great to hear from disability leaders across the globe about disability rights and inclusion,” Minister Shorten said.

Paul Calcott from Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion, who will attend COSP17, said sharing his experiences on the world stage would be so important.  

“As an Australian Aboriginal man and community Elder living with disability, having the opportunity to represent our mob at COSP is a huge privilege, and an opportunity to share my culture and our stories and reflections of  the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disability from our unique cultural perspective,” Uncle Paul Calcott said.

Clare Gibellini from Women With Disabilities Australia, and co-chair of the Autism Strategy Oversight Council, said COSP is an opportunity for people with disability to both learn and educate.

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to connect with and learn from my peers from around the world and to build on the experiences from last year’s Conference,” Ms Gibellini said.

“COSP is a fantastic mechanism to promote the rights of people with a disability on a global scale, and to showcase the strength and capabilities that people with disabilities have in leadership and driving conversations for change. Australia incorporates the UNCRPD into legislation and other government measures, including through:

  • the Disability Discrimination Act 1992

  • the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013

  • the Disability Services and Inclusion Act 2023, (which was introduced and passed by the Government last year and came into effect on 1 January 2024). 

  • Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031

  • the International Day of People with Disability program.

More information on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is available on the Department of Social Services website.  

An Easy Read document on the COSP17 delegates is available on the Department of Social Services website.

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